Larne whizzkid Jonathan Rea flew out to Japan today after registering the biggest win of his career when he took the eighth round of the World Supersport Championship at Brno in the Czech Republic yesterday.
Rea was ecstatic about his success, which came after an up and down race where the result was always in doubt before Rea won by 0.02 seconds from his team-mate Andrew Pitt with Josh Brooks in third place.
The 18 lap event saw Rea in third place at the start, then he moved to second and took the lead looking every inch a winner. But he dropped back again to seventh and all looked lost before he bounced back to third place and then led for the last two laps.
"I don't want to go through that again," said 19-year-old Rea, who is competing in Japan in the Suzuka 8R Insurance race next weekend.
Leon Haslam is his team-mate and this will be Rea's first time in the 8R championship. He was successful last year in the 300km race at Suzuka when he was partnered by fellow Honda rider Riyouchi Kiyonari.
Meanwhile Rea said of yesterday's win: "It was tremendous to have such support from home. There were Ulster flags everywhere."
Rea was no doubt referring to the contingent from home led by family friend Billy Gibson who was one of the main supporters of Rea's father Johnnie Rea when Johnnie was competing in the leading road races in Britain.
Rea is now fifth in the Supersport Championship. Pitt has 133 marks and leads while Rea has 92. But Rea would be the first to accept that there is still plenty of time for him to catch up and he said: "I can't wait for the next round early next month in Brands Hatch. I could hopefully make a spurt for the title and that would be terrific."
Meanwhile in the Irish Championship meeting at Kells, Co Meath, it was a day out for Ryan Farquhar and Scots rider Keith Amor. They shared first and second billing throughout the day with Amor beating Farquhar into second place in the 600cc championship race with Michael Dunlop third.
Then he came the first Open race with Farquhar first and Amor second and John Walsh third.
The second 600 race was again won by Amor with Farquhar second and Adrian McFarland third. Then in the race of the day which was also the second Open race it was Farquhar at his best beating Amor with Michael Dunlop third.
It was a disappointing day for Michael Pearson who had chosen to ride at Kells in preference to the short circuit Irish Championship meeting at Ballykelly on Saturday. Pearson finished ninth yesterday in the first Open race and tenth in the race of the day.
The 125cc race was won by Michael Dunlop with Graham Wilson second and Sam Dunlop third, then in the 250cc Michael Dunlop was top of the heap from Davy Morgan and Barry Davidson.
The British Superbike Championship continued at Oulton Park with Tom Sykes winning the first race. The Superstock Championship race was won by Steve Brogan and in the 600cc race Glen Richards was the winner. Tom Sykes won the second Superbike race.